Preserving Our Heritage since 1968

The Hunters Hill Trust

The Hunters Hill Trust

Preserving Our Heritage since 1968

Proposed rezoning could set a 6-storey precedent…

The owners of Montefiore Residential Care have asked Council to re-zone their massive Hunters Hill site between Barons Crescent and High Street from 2-storey Low Residential (8.5m height) to the recently created zone of SP2 Infrastructure (24m height)allowing buildings of 6 storeys or more. 
 
Montefiore’s Planning Proposal was published on Council’s website on 16 June but was sent straight to the Local Planning Panel (LPP) on 22 June.   Fortunately, the Panel reflected the community’s concerns and unanimously resolved not to support Council’s recommendation that the Planning Proposal be sent to the NSW Department of Planning and Environment for a ‘Gateway Determination’.
 
The LPP’s resolution included the advice to Council that adequate time was needed for assessment of the contextual understanding of impacts on similar aged care sites within the Municipality and recommended wider community consultation.  In spite of this, and Council’s own Resolution ‘to hold a community meeting as soon as practicable after the lodgement of a Planning Proposal for the Montefiore site’, Council’s plan is to consult the community only after the Gateway Determination – by which time it is unlikely to be overturned.
 

Montefiore Hunters Hill

An Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) is being convened at Council chambers on Tuesday 12 September 2023 at 6pm when a final decision to reject or support the Montefiore Proposal will be made.  This will be an opportunity to demonstrate the community’s concerns including the following:
 
1.   This rezoning could result in severe and permanent impacts across the whole of Hunters Hill LGA!  It could affect the low-rise residential streetscapes, character and amenity of our existing neighbourhoods.  Allowing this site to be zoned for height increases could set a precedent for the 7 other aged care sites, including seniors’ complexes in Woolwich Road, Ferdinand Street, Passy Avenue and Hunters Hill Village.
 
2.   Montefiore’s proposal would allow for buildings up to 24m in height to accommodate 144 one, two and three bedroom independent living apartments, whilst at the same time closing 126 existing residential aged care beds.  This at a time when the latest census data shows that our 85+ demographic is predicted to increase more than any other age group.
 
3.    With a planned 260+ space car park/loading dock with entrances in High Street and Barons Crescent directly opposite wildlife catchment areas and heritage listed Boronia Park, the extra traffic movements caused by the 24/7 operation of the new housing estate (currently only Stage 1) will result in more traffic disruption and congestion on all feeder roads including Ryde Road, Park Road, High Street and Pittwater Road and local roads already under pressure.
 
Even though arguments against the questionable use of the SP2 Infrastructure category to facilitate increased height were presented to Council and individual Councillors by representatives of the Community Action Association, who are pressing for a more moderate redevelopment consistent with the character of the local area, there has so far not been an adequate or properly considered response.
 
Council’s lack of transparency over this issue is unacceptable when it has apparently been in discussion with Montefiore for 17 months.  Releasing the  analysis of technical reports requested by the LPP only a few days before the EGM when the final decision will be made, is unreasonable and disrespectful to the community.

2023-09-05T14:52:18+10:00September 5, 2023|

Extending Woolwich Marina – not for the public good!

Woolwich Marina set to double in size obstructing waterways and public views of heritage items

 

The proposed Development Application DA2023-0094 for alterations and additions to the existing Woolwich Marina poses many serious issues including the following:

1. The site is located in the vicinity of a number of significant heritage items including State Heritage listed Kelly’s Bush and World Heritage listed Cockatoo Island within a conservation area, and this proposal will have serious implications for sensitive bushlands, parklands and waterways.

2. The development does not promote the equitable use of the Foreshores and Waterways Area as it seeks to double the size of the current Woolwich Marina to cater for private interests at the expense of the public good.

3. The visual impact of the planned extended marina is unacceptable as the larger numbers and dimensions of the boats to be catered for will partially obliterate the open water and views from public pathways and heritage sites.

4. The alienation of this busy stretch of water for the sailing community and the general public is unacceptable, and the safety implications of a reduced channel for ferries and boating, cannot be underestimated.

5. The resultant increase in traffic congestion through the peninsula with one road in and out, and the need for increased parking will place an unacceptable burden on the community.

The closing date for submission is 4pm on Friday 1st September.  The Trust’s submission strongly objecting to this project is here HHT Submission to DA2023-0094 Alterations & Additions to Woolwich Marina.   If, like us, you feel this proposal is not of benefit to the community, please send a short email in your own words to customerservice@huntershill.nsw.gov.au

2023-08-27T11:19:53+10:00August 25, 2023|

Tree quotas for new developments?

You may remember in our December 2022 Journal that we highlighted the continuing loss of our trees and suggested ways in which Council could discourage deliberate vandalism and slow the alarming loss of tree canopy on private land.    Subsequently, we wrote to Council on 11 Jan 2023  suggesting several ways in which Council could strengthen its Tree and Vegetation Management Policy, particularly in ‘Complying Development’ areas, where knockdown and rebuild projects tend to build to the fence lines, removing all trees and vegetation.

Therefore we were very pleased to read in the Sydney Morning Herald of 30 July 2023 that Woollahra Council –  who have experienced similar problems with a spate of knockdown/rebuilds destroying established gardens and historic trees –  have now produced an ‘Urban Forest Strategy’ that clearly lays out their new greening rules to prevent over development at the expense of green space. Their very inclusive Council invites residents to provide feedback https://yoursay.woollahra.nsw.gov.au/ufs – an excellent initiative and a great example of what can be done.

 
We understand that our Council has completed a Street Tree Management Plan which is a good start but the greatest threat currently is from trees being removed, often illegally, from private land.  Therefore an initiative like Woollahra’s could help combat this problem.  The suggestion to implement something similar for Hunters Hill has been made to Council and we await their response.

2023-08-25T10:12:38+10:00August 19, 2023|

What’s the hold-up?

Now at the end of the sixth week of stopped work at Figtree Park, we are asking why Council has not been able to progress this job? With such a huge sum of money at their disposal, the community would rightly expect a fully resourced and well planned process.
 
So what’s the delay? There are many local families, dog walkers, office workers and elderly people who have been denied use of this park, who are very unhappy about the delay and the resulting extra time it will now take until this much-loved amenity is restored.
 
After enquiring why there has been no work for so long, one of our members finally received an email to say that “preliminary investigations are underway” and “work will re-commence in August”. After nearly 18 months of planning the question we are asking is, why would Council still be carrying out ‘preliminary investigations’?

2023-08-27T11:09:58+10:00August 19, 2023|

Come and see us at Moocooboola on Sunday 6 August!

Come and see us at this year’s Moocooboola Festival being held at Boronia Park Ovals, Cnr Park and Ryde Roads from 10am – 4pm. We’re on Stand No. D7 together with our friends, The Happy Hens.    Pop by and say hello and check out our beautiful high quality tea towels.
You can also pick up a copy of our stunning publication ‘The Heritage of Hunters Hill’ a perfect present for that hard-to-buy-for friend or relative!  

The Heritage of Hunters Hill   Edition 5

This book was first published in 1969 and is now printed in full colour.  It features detailed information on almost 500 buildings of Hunters Hill in their historical contexts and landscape settings.
 
Also available from the following local outlets:
 
 –  Hunters Hill Post Office, 32 Alexandra Street
 – Village Florist and Wishbone, Garibaldi Square, Hunters Hill
 
or to obtain a copy by post please email huntershilltrust@gmail.com

 

 

 

2023-08-19T16:37:19+10:00August 3, 2023|

Hunters Hill Trust Journal July 2023

Vol 61, No. 1 July 2023

Another well-built home set in established gardens that give our suburb its character and charm – slated for demolition.

This edition covers the changing of the guard for the Trust with the retirement of our long term President, Alister Sharp, and the appointment of a staunch advocate for our heritage and environment, Karyn Raisin.   Also, instead of our usual ‘Hunters Hill Modern’ supplement, pages 3 & 4 feature an award-winning renovation and extension of a sandstone gem.

  • From the Retiring President and Introducing the Incoming President
  • So Who Are These NIMBYs?  – the pressure of development on heritage suburbs
  • In Tune with Heritage – a focus on an award winning renovation
  • Montefiore Planning Proposal
  • Update on Boronia Park
2023-07-21T10:52:09+10:00July 19, 2023|

Heritage and the latest push for development…..

There’s been a never-ending stream of media coverage recently regarding the need for more housing and greater density, with many commentators apportioning blame as to who is responsible for the housing shortage.  Spoiler alert – apparently it’s the NIMBYs.
 
Could it be that the developer lobby is now so powerful it is able to skew the argument towards re-zoning and accessing precious Crown Land as being the only answer to increased housing?  But according to the latest census data, there were 1 million homes unoccupied on census night – 10 per cent of the total housing stock.
 
The latest incentives from Government to build new dwellings has been described as a ‘free for all’ for developers and there is every indication that suburbs like ours are in the firing line for not pulling our weight, even though we are expected to meet or exceed the dwelling targets set for our LGA. In this push for development there must also be an assessment of the ‘liveability’ of our cities and, in a changing climate, the natural environment that sustains us.
 
Sadly there appears to be no room in this discussion for considering the carrying capacity of our heritage suburbs, in order to preserve their charm and character for future generations.   Can we be really that short sighted that we are prepared to jeopardise layers of our history?
 
Some of the history we’ve already lost – modest well built single family homes set in established gardens – replaced by large single family homes built to the fence lines with little or no green space….

With regard to the claim that heritage is being used as a tool to block development, at our recent Members’ Evening & AGM, our presenter, Jane Alexander, The National Trust of NSW’s Advocacy Manager, debunked that particular myth with the fact that of the 3.5 million land parcels in New South Wales, less than 1% are listed heritage items!  As the National Trust presentation to the Heritage Act Review stated:

Our heritage places make a significant contribution to our identity, creating a sense of place and representing the State’s story, its people and its shared connections.  From buildings to landscapes, songlines to character areas, trees to shipwrecks – the heritage of NSW is important.

We were therefore disappointed to learn that Council was prepared to fast track the recent Planning Proposal from the Montefiore Home for rezoning their site, to allow increased building heights up to 28m and include ‘premium priced apartments’ – not residential aged care.  Council recommended to the Local Planning Panel that the Planning Proposal be forwarded to the Department of Planning and Environment for a Gateway Determination….’  thus pushing the Proposal through without proper consideration or adequate time to engage the community.
 
Thankfully the independent Local Planning Panel reflected community concerns and voted unanimously to reject Council’s recommendations and advised that more time was needed for assessment of the contextual understanding of impacts on similar aged care sites within the Municipality, and called for wider community consultation.
 
The unseemly haste by Council to get this Proposal for increased building heights approved before finalising the vital revision of the Local Environmental Plan, is very concerning.   It could set a dangerous precedent – but a Council open to increasing density may very well find that convenient.

2023-07-15T08:43:54+10:00July 11, 2023|

Special Members’ Evening – Wednesday 28 June!

Come and join us on Wednesday 28 June from 6pm at the RSL Hall, cnr Ady and Alexandra Sts, Hunters Hill, for another opportunity to catch up with friends and neighbours and like minded residents.  We’ll enjoy some good wine, finger food and great conversation!
 
After our AGM at 6.30pm, our guest speaker at 6.45pm will be Jane Alexander, Advocacy Manager for the National Trust (NSW).   Jane was instrumental in assisting us with an excellent and successful submission against overdevelopment of a local heritage home and will talk about the National Trust’s work preserving local history, heritage and the built and natural environment – and how the community can advocate for maintaining character and amenity.  She will follow her talk with a Q&A.
 
With the latest constant media coverage and the relentless push for higher density living particularly in suburbs like Hunters Hill, now more than ever we need strategies to advocate for our heritage and amenity and we’re keen to hear your views.
 
As recognised by the former State Government, our suburb is constricted by its size, heritage and topography – and dwelling approvals already in the pipeline are on track to meet targets for our LGA – so we are curious that our LGA appears to be considered a growth target in the current media frenzy about housing density and shortages. Why is this push happening now, and is more construction the answer?

A recent article by Dr David Hayward emeritus professor of public policy and the social economy at RMIT University questions that supply is the issue and maintains: “We have been building vastly more dwellings than are needed to match population growth for decades, yet real prices and rents keep growing, affordability keeps falling and ever-increasing government subsidies can’t keep up. We currently have 1 million more houses than households.”

So come and join us on Wednesday 28 June from 6pm at the RSL Hall, cnr Ady and Alexandra Sts.  New members and friends are always welcome.  Please RSVP for catering purposes to huntershilltrust@gmail.com at the latest by Sunday 25 June.

2023-06-21T11:03:33+10:00June 17, 2023|

Figtree Park in Winter

A few photos of this little oasis in winter taken over just a couple of days – before works commence on the “upgrade”.
 
As always there are plenty of local residents using the park including a little boy practising his violin!  The addition of a play space, extra seating and low scale fencing along Ryde Road is welcome but the concern is that oversized infrastructure will be out of scale with the small area available.
 
The positioning of the toilet block away from services and alongside Ryde Road also appears inexplicable – or is because it then won’t interfere with Council’s as yet unacknowledged, Stage 2 plan to demolish the cottages at 40-48 Gladesville Road?

As Council’s DA to remove trees was rejected by the Local Planning Panel (see our 30th March post below) there must be minimal disruption to the vegetation.

And with the huge amount of public money at Council’s disposal, the community expects this project to be delivered to the highest standards of excellence and sustainability.

2023-06-21T10:07:09+10:00June 16, 2023|

Why the LEP/DCP must be strengthened…..

The opportunity to review of the Local Environment & Development Control Plans (LEP/DCP) must be fully utilised in order to address some of the poor outcomes that are clearly visible in our LGA.  There is a need for the terminology to be strengthened to mitigate the potential threats to our heritage and environment and to limit the damage that could be caused by Council’s failure to influence State Government’s planning reforms.
 
This means we need more than just a ‘housekeeping’ revision.  There is an urgent need for specific wording to avoid erosion of our garden suburb and to prevent loopholes, that would potentially further destroy our streetscapes, arising under the E1 Zoning reform.

The assault on heritage, landscape, stone walls, tree canopy and garden areas over time has detrimentally impacted local character and amenity and the current trend towards ‘knock-down / rebuild’ residential development is altering the streetscape of Hunters Hill with oversized buildings and loss of garden settings.  This LEP/DCP review needs to clearly articulate how critical it is that the unique layered history and values of our suburb be protected and enhanced.

In our letter to Council of 12 April regarding the Planning Reforms and LEP-DCP Review we documented all the issues that are at stake including the following:

  • There must be no move to diminish the extent of the existing Conservation Areas.  Any reduction would result in increased complying development leading to further loss of character.   Conservation Areas must be entirely retained within their current protected status and boundaries, with investigation to further include heritage items (as undertaken by Woollahra Council), particularly those buildings not yet listed but identified in our publication “The Heritage of Hunters Hill’.  The identification and role of ‘contributory’ buildings, from the early and mid-20th century, must also be fully acknowledged and valued.
  •  

  • A ‘C4 Environmental Living’ zone must be introduced to provide greater protection from development on land adjoining high value conservation areas and sensitive foreshore.This could help address the worst excesses in some areas currently under complying development where the clear-felling of mature gardens is rife.  The Trust has already suggested a process Letter to HHC re Tree Policies 11 Jan 2023 whereby staff could inspect complying development applications prior to approval to document mature trees and safeguard their preservation.
  •  

  • The current controls over Height, Floor Space Ratios, Landscape Area, Bulk, Scale and Proportions must be strengthened to be compatible with the existing character of our municipality, with particular attention to the tendency for development to fill the maximum permissible building envelope in height and scale which is detrimental to the streetscape and the historical values of our garden suburb.  The expectation that houses can be endlessly altered and enlarged is resulting in the cumulative loss of our built heritage and natural environment.  Capitalising on the economic value of property must be balanced with the broader community benefit in protecting the aesthetics, character and vital green lungs of the area.
  •  

  • Council must commit to ensuring that the requirement for 50%/60% landscaping is redefined to guarantee that hard surfaces, narrow paved setbacks, paths and swimming pools do not reduce the green planted area.  The concept must be “houses set in gardens”rather than “buildings surrounded by landscaping”.  The provision of substantial areas of deep and continuous soil for tree planting is also crucial to maintaining our tree canopy, a notable feature of Hunters Hill, and a major contribution to mitigating climate change.
  •  

  • Council needs to strengthen the link between the LEP and DCP.  There is a significant disconnect between the existing planning controls for new development, including additions, in the LEP and those in the DCP, the latter having very targeted goals and detailed requirements to conserve our character, heritage, gardens and landscapes.
  •  

  • Council must commit to tightening controls that limit the extent of demolitions and the increasingly excessive amounts of geological excavation causing irrevocable damage to the unique natural topography.
  •  

  • There must be stronger controls around garages and carports to both street and laneway addresses to preserve the existing streetscape – a major component of the DCP objectives.
  •  

  • Consideration must be given as to how sustainability measures, eg solar panels, can be appropriately integrated within conservation areas.
  •  

  • Local hydrology must be strategically managed to ensure storm water is captured as a resource where appropriate while also effectively structured to avoid flooding.

The intention at the 15 March public meeting for Council to include a commitment to adhering to the principles of Ecologically Sustainable Development within the revised LEP/DCP, is a good start.  These established principles must guide and strengthen the objectives to take account of environmental and sustainability imperatives in local planning and development.

The community is expecting a thorough Review of the LEP/DCP to further strengthen our controls – not a tick box exercise. Residents will be closely watching the outcome.

2023-05-25T13:47:50+10:00May 25, 2023|
Go to Top